Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have recently opened up to the world about the tragic loss of their child due to pregnancy complications. The news comes after Teigan revealed she had been suffering from heavy bleeding for a about a month. Despite having many blood transfusions, the baby was unable to make it. The couple had announced the pregnancy back in August, which came as a surprise because they thought it was not possible to conceive naturally. The couple have two other children, Luna and Miles, who were conceived through in-vitro fertilization. The family broke the news through a series of black and white photos of Chrissy and John in the hospital room with their baby.
As I reflect on the difficult situation Chrissy and John are going through right now, my heart goes out to all women who have ever lost a child or those who have struggled with pregnancy. Being a women is no easy feat. It is in this moment, however, that I think of the intruding question that all women have heard at some point in their life: “When are you planning on having kids?” It’s an age-old question that has somehow been appropriated to ask to any young women. It is time to put an end to such an inappropriate question once and for all. Not only is it a very personal question that one may not even be entitled to ask, but it is also very ignorant.
For starters, a women may not want to have kids. I know this may come as a shock to some out there, especially those from older generations, but women are capable of having dreams that are different and go beyond motherhood. It is rude to assume that they want to have kids and imply that they need to. This strange “need” to have kids and the reason why people ask such a question to young women is because of something called the biological clock, which refers to a supposed window of time that a women MUST get pregnant because that is when she is fertile. However, the concept of the biological clock is merely a tactic to socially put pressure on women to have children.
This is especially disrespectful to women or their partners who cannot conceive. Such was the case for my parents, who were unable to have kids naturally and instead decided to adopt. My mother would tell me stories though of all the family dinners where she was repeatedly asked when she was going to have kids. Comments such as “You’re not getting any older,” or “When am I going to have grandkids?” was what she had to year for years before they adopted me. The harassment that women get, especially from their own family members is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Another possibility that these “question-askers” never take into consideration, is the possibility that the women they are asking has been through a miscarriage. As is the tragic story of Chrissy and John right now, many women share the same story and can relate to their pain. Not only have you made yourself look like an idiot, but you have also now brought back something painful to the women you are asking. It is better to think before you speak, not knowing the circumstances of the situation.
Then there are the times when women are asked the question and the answer is simply not now. People can decide when they are ready for children and they will make the decision without needing the opinion of an outsider. Society does place heavy emphasis at having kids at just the right time. Have kids too young and you will be judged but have kids too old and you will be judged for that as well. All too often many feel that it is appropriate to have a say on what a woman should be doing with her body.
I call for an all-out extermination of asking personal questions such as this one to women who do not owe anyone an explanation for what, when, or why they do something with their body. I also encourage others to call out and educate anyone who does these things, so that they can be better.